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Growing a Bee-Friendly Seed Mix in Kingston, Ontario

Author:

Simon's background is in biomedical and health science. He also writes about fashion, nature, and photography.

The Seed Package

The Bee Friendly Seed Mix

The Bee Friendly Seed Mix

Growing Bee Friendly Flowers

My father supports several charities. One of these charities is Ecojustice. They are the largest environmental law charity in Canada. They sent us a package of Bee Friendly Seed Mix containing Purple Coneflower, Red Poppy, Aster-Crego, Cornflower and Evening Primrose in the mail as part of their fundraising campaign. This spring I thought I would sow these seeds and see if they will produce beautiful flowers for the bees.

The Set-up

I decided to grow this flower mix in a container that way I know any seedlings are from the seeds and not weeds. My father gave me a medium size container, which he drilled holes in the bottom for drainage. I then placed into the container top soil. The top soil from the bag looked quite wet so I let it dry off overnight in the container.

The Container

The Container

The Container

Top Soil

Top Soil

Top Soil

Sowing The Seeds

The instructions say to sow the seeds in April or May or after the last frost. It tells me to broadcast the seeds evenly over the soil, lightly rake the seeds and gently tap them into the soil.

I did scatter the seeds evenly but didn't rake them. Instead I used my hands to move the soil over the seeds. I then gently tapped them into the soil. The package says the seeds should not be deeper than 1/8". I don't think they were sowed deeper than that into the soil. The seeds were planted on May 18, 2018 on a sunny 17°C day. I hope they germinate!

The Seeds

The Seeds

The Seeds

Germination

On a sunny and mild May 24, nearly a week after the seeds were sowed, I saw something really wonderful in the planter. The seeds germinated and have grown into very small seedlings! There are maybe around 20 or so little plants scattered in the container. I can distinguish two types of flowers based on their leaf shape and size. However, I'm not sure what each of the seedlings are just yet though. We'll have to wait until they grow a bit bigger so that we can identify them.

I was somewhat worried that the seeds were dead and wouldn't produce anything. Thankfully, they were good seeds. I'm just so thrilled the seeds germinated!

Germination

Seeds Germinated

Seeds Germinated

Two Weeks

Two weeks after I sowed the seeds, they have grown quite a bit. The seedlings are much larger today on June 1. The leaflets are more pronounced and clearly seen. One of the flowers is growing more vigorously than the other flower. You can see about four leaflets forming on these. The smaller variety also has more leaves but are much smaller. Can't wait to see what flowers they will be!

Two Weeks

Much Larger Seedlings (June 1)

Much Larger Seedlings (June 1)

Three Weeks

Three weeks after they were sowed my plants are growing very well. They are much bigger than last week and they look pretty healthy. They are starting to form distinctive leaves. One of the plants has long and slender leaves. The other one has much smaller and boarder leaves. Soon I hope they will produce flowers!

Three Weeks

Three Weeks

Three Weeks

Four Weeks

Four weeks have gone by since I planted the seeds. They have really filled out the container. They almost appear to be double in size from last week. I'm glad they're continuing to grow. Flowers in a couple more weeks?

Four Weeks

Four Weeks

Four Weeks

Five Weeks

After five weeks, the plants are doing really well. They have grown and filled out the container. To me, they look pretty healthy. The slender plants appear to be growing much faster than the broad ones. They broader ones are still pretty small. I can't wait until they flower--any week now!

Five Weeks

Five Weeks

Five Weeks

Six Weeks

This week marks the sixth week of growth. The plants are still doing fantastic. They're growing taller and wider. Pretty soon we will get some flowers!

Six Weeks

Six Weeks

Six Weeks

Seven Weeks

My bee friendly plants are still doing really well after seven weeks. The slender plants are growing quite tall. I expect them to grow flowers very soon. The shorter and broader plants are getting larger too, just not height-wise.

I've been saying that these plants would flower any week now for the last several weeks. I promise you they will very soon!

Seven Weeks

Seven Weeks

Seven Weeks

Eight Weeks

My plants are still steadily growing. After eight weeks, the plants are much taller and larger. There is a hint of a flower emerging on one of slender plants. I think by next week I may see a flower! This is exciting!

Eight Weeks

Eight Weeks

Eight Weeks

Nine Weeks

It has been nine weeks since I planted the seeds. The plants look like they have grown taller and wider. I see a few small emerging buds from the slender plants, but no flowers yet. I'm sure we will see flowers pretty soon.


Nine Weeks

Nine Weeks

Nine Weeks

Ten Weeks

It has been ten weeks since I planted my seeds. My plants are still growing steadily. I see bigger buds from the slender plants. Flowers will bloom from them very soon.

Ten Weeks

Ten Weeks

Ten Weeks

Eleven Weeks

A small tragedy has struck. Most of the slender plants, except for one remaining, have died. I'm not sure what happened, but they wilted and gone brown. Too much water? Too much heat? The remaining plant has about three buds that appear larger now compared to a few weeks ago. I hope they will survive to bloom. The broader, shorter plants seem to be ok. Not much change from them.

Eleven Weeks

Eleven Weeks

Eleven Weeks

Twelve Weeks

The one surviving slender plant looked really rough this week. I'm afraid it will die anytime now. I did see small bluish, purple petals from one of its buds earlier in the week. It looks like a cornflower. Hopefully, the rest of the buds get a chance to bloom.

The smaller, broader plants seem to be doing ok. I don't see any buds from them though. It will be a while before they flower.

Twelve Weeks

Twelve Weeks

Twelve Weeks

Seventeen Weeks

Nearly four months after I planted the seeds, only one plant survived to bloom. They are the asters. I just can't believe that they were able to flower despite looking really rough. As you can see in the photo, most of their leaves are damaged. They are truly remarkable. I must say they look quite beautiful in pink and red. So the journey from seeds to flower is finished. It was a wild ride, but totally worth it!

Asters at 17 Weeks

Asters at 17 Weeks

Comments

Simon Lam (author) on May 20, 2018:

Hi Mary!

Great! You're welcome!

Take care!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 19, 2018:

Thanks Simon. I will have this in mind for next year.

Simon Lam (author) on May 19, 2018:

Hi Mary!

There are a few Canadian companies (OSC Seeds and West Coast Seeds) that sell bee friendly seed mixtures. Maybe something to consider for next year. I hope you will have a bountiful flower garden this year. I'm sure the bees will love it!

Take care!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 18, 2018:

I will look for this packet as I like to have bees in my garden. I just finished planting my flowers for this year and I am happy. Now, I want to attract the bees.

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